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Sergeant Rex: The Unbreakable Bond Between a Marine and His Military Working Dog [Kindle Edition]

Mike Dowling , Damien Lewis
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $11.99
You Save: $4.01 (25%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
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Book Description

“In Iraq we put our lives in each other’s hands (and paws) day after day. We took care of each other no matter what. Rex and I have a bond that will last for the rest of our born days. If ever there was a marine who lived up to Semper Fidelis, the motto of the Marine Corps, it’s Rex.”

Deployed to Iraq’s infamous Triangle of Death in 2004, Sergeant Mike Dowling and his military working dog Rex were part of the first Marine Corps military K9 teams sent to the front lines of combat since Vietnam. It was Rex’s job to sniff out weapons caches, suicide bombers, and IEDs, the devastating explosives that wreaked havoc on troops and civilians alike. It was Mike’s job to lead Rex into the heart of danger time and time again, always trusting Rex to bring them both back alive.

Dowling had turned twenty-five and Rex three just after they arrived in Iraq. Neither of them had any idea what to expect, and no training could fully prepare them for this job. An animal lover since childhood, Dowling had fostered and trained dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and he was determined to serve in the military’s K9 unit after joining the Marines. On their first patrols in Iraq, Rex suffered a seemingly incurable fear of explosions and gunfire, but with Mike at the other end of his leash, Rex gained the courage to perform his duty.

Filled with harrowing tales of knife-edge bomb-detection work, including an extraordinary baptism by fire, Sergeant Rex is a heart-pounding account of how an unbreakable human-canine bond helped Mike and Rex to stay focused on their mission and save countless lives. Dowling takes us into the searing 130-degree heat, the choking dust, and the ever-present threat of violent attack that seemed to permeate Iraq’s streets. We experience Dowling’s visceral fear of walking down an IED-laden alley where dismemberment or death can come with any footstep, only his trusted partner, Rex, by his side.

Loyalty is one of the hallmarks of any good Marine, and nowhere is that quality more evident than in this astonishing account of Mike Dowling and Rex’s wartime experiences. A moving story of how a man and a dog developed complete trust in each other in the face of terrible adversity, Sergeant Rex is an unforgettable tale of sacrifice, courage, and love.

Editorial Reviews


"The best kind of nonfiction -- an impossible-to-put-down true life story."
--San Francisco Chronicle

“This is a truly heartwarming and moving story.”
—Hollywood Reporter

“Packed with colorful characters and dramatic incidents, Sergeant Rex is a moving story of true grit cast seamlessly amidst tough realism, rich, insightful detail and mutual respect.”
—Seattle Kennel Club

“A first-rate buddy story from the front lines of the Iraq war.”
--Shelf Awareness


Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Man and dog and then some January 13, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've read my share of dog as man's best friend books. Especially the books that show the powerful bonding between handlers and their military working dogs (MWD). I've watched videos of interviews with dog handlers that had to leave their dogs behind when they returned home, especially after Vietnam. Their stories of sacrifice by both dog and handler, shared affection and feelings of betrayal by the handler when he had to leave his dog behind are heart rending. This book is one of the best. In part because it has a happy ending for Rex in spite of the horrific experiences that they had sniffing out IEDs and waiting for a sniper to take either or both of them 'out.' What was surprising to me though was though I thought that I knew a fair amount about dogs I still learned more. Great book.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read December 19, 2011
By Bren
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I picked up Sargeant Rex expecting it to me a story about one man and his dog. About friendship and loyalty and the occasional heart wrenchin moment. Well a couple of chapters in I was very surprised, yes it a story about a man, A marine and his dog, but its story about war and combat and how 2 soldiers worked side by side to protect a nation left in rubble after war. Mike talks about Rex like any other Marine, and has you read the book you feel that way too, stopping at times to think, whoa, this is a dog he is talkin about. I have a new found respect for the working dog now. Dont pick up this book expecting it to me an war story, its not! its a friendship story set during war. What Mike goes through to protect his dog is nothing short of heroic and lets not forget about Rex here and what he goes through to protect the marines of company 2/2 is more than heroic its inspirational. Great book, great read, great story..lets hope it makes a good movie.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible feel good story December 13, 2011
The bond between a soldier and his dog is told in this amazing story. From the training as a puppy to the combat zone. You will feel every emotion possible as you pass each chapter and wait in eager anticipation for the next chapter. My props go out to Mike Dowling and not just his amazing cander and his relationship with his working dog Rex, but also for serving our country and the insight he provides with his comrades and the experiences they go through on a daily basis as they fight for our freedom.

This is a MUST read for people young and old, everyone whether you like to read or not will love this story. Thanks again Mike and Rex.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Recently, we adopted a retired military working dog named MWD Fama H176. She is nine years old this month. She served two tours in Iraq. This wonderful book gives us an idea of what she must have gone through. Thankfully, she seems to have adjusted to civilian life without PTSD! Thank you, Mike Dowling, for giving us your story.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars K9 School Classmate January 5, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I went to K9 School with Dowling and got to see first hand the potential that he had right from the start. It has been an honor to know him and continue our reminising of the days that have passed. Thank you for spreading the word to let those in on the bond we handlers have with our dogs. K9 for Life!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved This Book January 27, 2012
The book was entertaining, informative and well-written, but even more, it
appealed to me emotionally since I love dogs. Dowling and his military working
dog were at the heart of war zones, detecting explosives and weapons
to help keep our troops (and also civilians) safe from the insurgents.
It made for many interesting stories, which kept my interest throughout.
I learned a lot about how the canines are trained and what they are
capable of, something many of us are interested in since military dogs
have been in the news with the capture of Osama Bin Laden last year.
It was also nice getting to know Dowling: his thoughts, background and
feelings as he faced these dangers in the book.

My only disappointment was that after all of that bonding, many instances
of cheating death, hours of training and so forth, he ended the book by
simply saying he had decided against reinlisting and that Rex had gone
on to other deployments with other handlers. I would have liked to have
known how he felt about leaving his dog in the hands of others, and
whether or not Rex was available for adoption by any of the handlers he
so loved and respected after he retired. I guess I am saying the story
ended a bit abruptly. Still, I admittedly loved it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Adrie
Fabulous storytelling that captures the emotion of the experience, draws you into the scene, and makes you feel like Rex IS your pup.

This is a very inspiring story about fear, courage, and above all, loyalty.

Makes this cat lady want to get a dog. ;)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than War Horse December 24, 2011
By x5oh
A terrific read about a Marine and his military working dog who braved it all in war-torn Iraq while deployed to the infamous Triangle of Death in 2004. If you like true accounts of war as told by the men who fight them and not outsiders who never carried a weapon or risked it all, you will love SERGEANT REX. Sgt. Mike Dowling provides an insider's view of a combat Marine who along with Rex, saved lives by performing a most dangerous mission...detecting the weapons of war including the terrorist's weapon of choice, the improvised explosive device. Well done, Marine!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I am an animal lover so what not to like. Dogs are such trustworthy...
I am an animal lover so what not to like. Dogs are such trustworthy pets and to read of their heroic war endeavors. I have read several war dog books. Read more
Published 7 days ago by MAC
5.0 out of 5 stars They are truly soldiers just like humans are and definitely deserve...
They are truly soldiers just like humans are and definitely deserve the same awards. Without them there would be so many more casualties. Truly heroes.
Published 9 days ago by Roberta M.
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ FOR DOG LOVERS!
This story is one of the most excellent, touching, true-to-the- heart stories of friendship, survival and courage that I've ever read, and I'm old. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Twink Brewer
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable bravery. Read and learn of top notch loyalty to man and...
A very interesting book, full of very nerve racking situations. Couldn't imagine a more scary, life threatening position to be in, than to be part of the first K-9 units deployed... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Michael R Hickok
5.0 out of 5 stars This book was a great read. I rescue animals all my life and ...
This book was a great read.
I rescue animals all my life and have always had an interest in K -9 dogs
Being a Lions Club Member and seeing people receive seeing eye... Read more
Published 23 days ago by Betty J Gunderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Sergeant Rex
This is a wonderful, wonderful book! As a military mom and dog lover, I highly recommend it.
Published 25 days ago by Suzanne MD
1.0 out of 5 stars Glad I only paid a dollar for it on clearance.
I really wanted to like this book. I am a very big supporter of the men and women that serve our country. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MB
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book for military buffs and dog-lovers alike.
Never a dull moment in this fantastic book for military buffs and dog-lovers alike. Equally heartwarming, humorous, and nerve-racking combat scenes. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Christian D. Orr
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book!
Published 1 month ago by Carol Beall
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing story!
Published 1 month ago by Lois Matheson
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